December 2012

What is Sandy Hook rousing in you?

I haven’t posted about the Sandy Hook shooting yet, even though it impacted me deeply. I have a few opinions and a lot of feeling. Yet anything I might say seems too small. I’m still listening to learn what it all means to me. 

Fast answers aren’t always the best answers, (Malcom Gladwell not-withstanding.) Some questions take time and stillness to answer.

But some people already knew how the experience has changed them, and what it is catalyzing in their lives. I’d love to hear what it is invoking in you.

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A conversation that enriches the holiday spirit

Is the holiday spirit calling you? Are you doing things to enliven it? 

My friend “Brenda” used to feel family-less and sad in this season. This year she feels joyful and blessed. She is creating a “secret ritual” to celebrate. And today she shared some of what she has planned with me. I won’t share any of her details, but I will say that she is pulling from her traditions and doing the things that hold deep meaning for her. By sharing her plan with me, she enlivened some of my own memories, joy and gratitude.

I love talking about what delights others. And it helps me connect with what delights me. That’s why I’d like to ask you, too. 

  • What do you do in the holidays that makes it special to you?

I’d love to know. 

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“Proof of Heaven” author got great authentic voice advice

Bob and I are reading and enjoying “Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.” We’re not through it yet, but I got a gem from last night’s reading. Author Eban Alexander III told his son that he wanted to share what he had learned during his many comatose days, and planned to read up on near death experiences, and what others have experienced.

His son advised him to capture his own memories and experiences first. “Observation first, then interpretation. Record it as purely and accurately as you can before you start making comparisons.”

The SpeakStrong Method follows the same sequence. Find your original voice first. Then consider outside input. If you fill your mind with other’s ideas before you clarify your own, it’s harder to hear your own voice. That’s why I wait until I have established my own approach in my writing before I review the work of others. Outside input is valuable, but it serves us best once we’ve centered ourselves in our own message. 

That’s the sequence that I have found works best. Having grounded that idea, it’s nice to hear a scientist recommend it, too. 

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A Sophisticated Vocabulary of Feelings

When you embark on an important conversation, do you know how you feel? Most people don’t. When I ask what they feel, most people will share an opinion. There’s power in the language of feelings. Find the words to describe how you feel, and you are far more likely to make a powerful point.Learn how to use your communication words in:How to Use PowerPhrases

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Emotional Alchemy through the “Love Letter”

The Love Letter Technique

According to Relationship Expert John Gray, emotions exist in layers, from
more guarded to more vulnerable. Emotions go from:

1. Anger
2. Sorrow
3. Fear
4. Regret
5. Love

If you’re ever unsure about what you feel, use this like a map to take you through all possible levels. Gray calls it a love letter technique. That name implies that you only use it in love relationships — but it’s useful any time you’re not sure what you feel. The process has helped me through many emotional challenges.

Here are some sentence stems to help you work your way through your emotions.

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Lean Forward

lean forwardOne of the best features of the admin training we completed yesterday was the sharing. Sometimes they shared how they applied things I gave them. Other times they shared things they’ve been doing for years. This image is a sharing from one of the participants that she received when she registered for my newsletter. She told me, “I just put this on my cabinet as inspiration!” 

I love the way people share. Thanks, Linda!

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